Renovating your commercial building is a big investment. Whether you’re starting a business, expanding your workspace, or upfitting for existing tenants, renovation projects can present some serious challenges if you don’t prepare and plan. While each project will be customized to meet your business needs and the project scope, some universal guidelines should be followed regardless of industry or building use.
Why a Commercial Renovation?
Several reasons make commercial renovations a valuable investment. Investors often create more adaptable spaces to “flip” buildings, landlords need to better meet tenants’ needs, or business owners may need to expand their retail footprint. If your building is no longer working for you, it could be time for a commercial renovation.
For office building owners especially, keeping employees happy and attracting top talent is becoming much more of a priority. The design and impact of workspaces are becoming increasingly apparent. Often, office space remodels are a great way to boost employee morale and contribute to a healthy company culture that gives you a competitive edge.
What Should I Consider Before Starting?
Make sure to check the certificate of occupancy (CO) first and foremost. This is the documentation that tells you how the building can be used legally. Even if you’re renovating a building you already own, you and your contractor need to be clear on these parameters before work begins. Depending on the CO you may be limited in how you can use the space. Changing COs can be an expensive process and in some cases impossible.
Look into potential and existing building violations as well. Deferred maintenance and high vacancy rates could mean that it’s been a while since any work has been done on the building. Violations uncovered during the renovation process could stop work and end up being a costly delay. Working with a qualified and experienced construction contractor will help identify these issues before they become serious.
How Do I Choose the Right Construction Contractor?
You’ll want to work with commercial construction professionals that have experience in commercial renovations, a strong portfolio, and the expertise to navigate some of the administrative challenges that can arise during the commercial renovation process. When researching your options, ask these questions:
- Are you licensed, insured, and bonded? Do you vet your employees?
- Who will be in charge of the project? Which team member is my main contact?
- Can you offer a guarantee that I’ll be satisfied with the work? What about warranties?
- Can I speak with references and see a portfolio of work? Any testimonials?
- Is there an escalation clause in case the price of supplies change during the project?
Once you’re happy with your contractor’s choice, it’s time to address business continuity. If you’re planning on keeping regular hours during the commercial renovation project, make it clear to customers and tenants. Ask for scheduling feedback to determine the best times to perform construction work and be transparent about the added value of a renovation. Let them know that dust, loud noises, and increased safety measures will all be part of the construction process.
What Else Should I Know About Commercial Renovations?
Here are some other touchpoints to address with your commercial construction contractor:
- Sustainability: Work closely with your contractor to choose building materials and processes that help support sustainability — it can add even more value to the investment.
- Access: Ensure that your design helps the building maintain ADA compliance or upfit spaces to be accessible to visitors with disabilities.
- Contingency: During the budgeting process, make sure you build in extra funding in case of cost overruns that could potentially delay or halt work.
- Communication: Make it clear and consistent. This is especially important for landlords as the go-between that works with both tenants and contractors.
- Design: Your final product should adapt to a wide variety of tenants so don’t lock yourself into something overly niche or trendy.
During the commercial renovation project, perform regular site checks and walk-throughs with your contractor. This helps everyone involved identify red flags that could be addressed early. It’s also a great way to understand how your budget is allocated.
Your project could be a corporate headquarters, a software company, a law firm or a multi-use office building. Regardless, any project from the ground up begins with contractors that can read blueprints and elevations, expertly grade a site, and install internal systems like HVAC and plumbing. Crews must set rebar and pour foundations, build walls, and install the roof and any windows or doors before moving inside.
These elements of construction may sound routine, but they are anything but; mistakes at any stage can be expensive and time-consuming for the client. Work with a commercial renovation contractor you can trust — get in touch with our team today.